Siam Discovery, Bangkok, Thailand
Arch.: Nendo, Tokyo & Milan

Founder of Nendo, a studio particularly creative in design during these last years, Oki Sato has just renovated one of the biggest commercial centers in Asia, motivated by the same sophisticated and dynamic approach.

Mainly known and appreciated for his strong personality in the design activity, the Japanese architect Oki Sato, graduated from the Tokyo Waseda University, has just realized his greatest and most ambitious project till now: the redevelopment of a 40000 sqm retail space to create an hybrid place, between shopping mall and department store, far from all traditional ideas. Like his furniture and object creations, Siam Discovery leaves an astonishing impression.
The 18 year old existing building, was deep with a narrow frontage that resulted in a poor flow of visitors at the front. To deal with this problem, Nendo joined up the different circular atriums to create an approximately sixty meter elongated canyon-like space, which draws visitors to the back of the building. A stack of 220 frame-shaped boxes with video monitors, digital signalizations, and displays of merchandise flies towards the floors.
Outside, it was decided to open up the façades as much as the structural constraints permitted in order to suppress the previous sense of oppressiveness. However, in Bangkok, it is important to alleviate the intense heat of the sun. For this reason the double-skinned façade is decorated with a pattern that reflects the “stacked box”installation in the atrium.Rather than categorizing merchandise by brand, the experience is organized around the theme of “Lifestyle Laboratory”.The numerous products are openly exposed proposing an emotional experience.To materialize the experimental side, thirteen locations refer to the scientific world: flasks, laboratory equipments and even the DNA structure.The floor and ceiling finishes in the common parts and the retail spaces are mixed to create an atmosphere where people can feel relaxed and feel free to approach the stores. And by repositioning the escalators, the design also facilitates the flow of visitors.Thirty artists from Thailand and Asia were also invited to personalize the space.Finally this project aims to encourage visitors to discover and enjoy a mixture of tastes and lifestyles with many different environments.

Photos © Takumi Ota